“I’m sorry your dog died. LOL.”
An interior design blogger shared this story of how she thought LOL meant “Lots of Love” but wound up unknowingly using LOL most inappropriately! And not just this one time, many times until she found out what it meant.
Public health is full of stories of ineffective and even harmful campaigns because not enough was known about the audience and its communication. The lady who unwittingly confused her dear friends could have asked her social media-savvy kids what LOL meant. Unfortunately sometimes we don’t even know what we don’t know in order to ask. Here’s a way to steer clear of no-laughing-matter situations — always do your formative research (or, market research as some professions call it). This will give you a deep understanding of your audience’s motivations, behaviors, needs, change triggers, etc. and make your communications more effective at the change you seek. And most certainly, it will help you avoid unintended mishaps that are no laughing matter.